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For the past two weeks, I've been getting up at 5:30AM every day to workout. I do a DVD-based workout at fairly high intensity. Because of my life demands, I've only been able to fit in about six hours of sleep a night.

Am I headed toward burnout / injury / problems or can I maintain this sleep pattern for the next three months?

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Polyphasic sleep let's you sleep 2 hours a day –  Pacerier Sep 5 '11 at 23:58
    
Most people will experience symptoms of sleep deprivation with less than seven hours of sleep -- but it depends on your genetics and probably other factors as well. –  Muhd Apr 19 '12 at 7:47

3 Answers 3

up vote 7 down vote accepted

Everyone is different. I wouldn't be able to workout even just 3 days a week if I was only getting 6hrs of sleep, but maybe you'll be able to. Experiment and observe :)

Watch for signs of overtraining and if it happens cut down on the workouts (or preferably, try to increase how much you sleep).

The type of workout is also important. I've noticed that weight-lifting takes a bigger toll than others, for example.

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re type of workout: Intensity might also be key. Running intervals might take more recovery than a medium long runish thing for example –  svrist Mar 1 '11 at 21:15

It is possible to train the human body into needing much less sleep. It is sleep quality and not amount that counts.
I have heard about people from military elite educations, who make their body used to no more than 4 hours of sleep at night. And they are still fit and surprisingly energized the next day ready to continue their rough training.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Polyphasic_sleep
http://studenttavern.com/2008/04/live-on-2-hours-of-sleep-a-night-sleep-method/
http://www.physorg.com/news76867739.html

First of all it all depends on ones own body. Some need more, some need less sleep to reach the same level of rest.

Then it also depends on your sleep quality. You've got to fall a sleep fast and immediately go to the deep and good sleep, and get quickly past the REM sleep (Rapid eye movement sleep) which is the more superficial dream sleep.

Then your body also has to be able to recover fast. This follows your psysical condition level.

Lastly, remember to eat healthy and have the right amounts of protein etc. after training for the body to have perfect conditions for recovering fast.

If your body ever shows signs on burnout you should react. This could be simply having sore muscles the day after the exercise, if you do this exercise of these muscle groups regularly but with no soreness. If you find yourself loosing focus and concentration and feeling tired then of course you need sleep.
In the end, without training to need less sleep, some people just appears to need less anyway without any effort. It varies from approx. 7-9 hours in average. If you are the 6-hours kind of guy this could be just you, and you should find out by about this. Give it ago and keep focus on soreness and pain in the very early stages.

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Take another day off so that you can sleep in and give your body a chance to repair.

The body repairs and strengthens itself in the time between workouts, and continuous training can actually weaken it.

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